Content Marketing: 7 Things You Can Do Instead Of Blogging

BunchCast Team

Nov 21st, 2013

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Brands often associate content marketing with blogging. They are struggling with their blog and do not know how to perform better. The first thing I tell those brands, is to think more broadly about content marketing. It may not always be about blogging. There are some markets where blogging is not the most adequate solution.
In this post, we will look at other types of content marketing like sending email updates, writing ebooks, producing video or audio content, and organizing events or webinars.

Email updates


Emails are often neglected because people think of it as a deprecated media. Nowadays, people tend to be flooded with emails, therefore it is a noisy channel. However, if you manage to create a strong bond between your audience and your brand, it is a great channel to operate on.
Building a list of subscribers for your email updates can be done in many ways. For example, you can think about inciting your current customers to opt-in. You can also add a form on your blog to get readers to subscribe. To make the community you built feel a bit special, you can provide them with your content before sharing it on your social accounts.
Let's take a look at the way the social sharing tool Buffer manages their email updates. When you land on their blog, they invite you to join a community of 10,000 readers (the number strengthens the attraction of the call to action). When a new post is released, an email is sent to the community to notify that something new has been published. The constant quality of the posts on Buffer's blog will inevitably lead the readers to click on the link or to bookmark it for later.
Email can also be used as an exclusive content distribution channel. You will make your community feel even more special if the content you distribute in their inbox is exclusive and they cannot find it anywhere on the web. 
Email updates can be used to give your community news about your product. Be careful, the content you produce always has to bring some value. When you write about your company, try to bring some fun elements and tell a story. When you write about your product, always come up with the benefits before describing a feature. Your reader never cares about a product feature, but always about the hassle it will avoid, or the new cool things he can do with it, or even how much money he will save. 
The subject of the email, like a blog post headline, is a key element. You will need your reader to click on the email and read the content. This is the same exercise as for a blog post title. Take a look at this article for further tips on writing:

http://bunchcast.com/blog/how-to-write-easy-to-read-content-that-shares-better

Webinars


Organizing webinars is another great alternative to blog posts. Webinars are web seminars; doing a presentation to a remote audience, connecting with them, through a broadcasting presentation system. 
It helps you connect directly with your audience by addressing subjects they care about. It is more than giving out content, because you are giving some of your time too, by engaging with them. You can measure the success of the topic by monitoring the subscriptions as well as the number of people who actually show up. You can get feedback during or after your session by adding a chat. The content you provide can either be exclusive and never get distributed again, or shared on Slideshare afterwards. A good idea would be to wait before posting on Slideshare so your audience can keep the exclusivity for some time. This solution can be the best of both worlds.
At the end of the presentation, you can add calls to action. For example, you can offer an incentive like a special discount for the customers attending the webinar, thus bringing them more value. 
KissMetrics does a good job by regularly delivering value through webinars. They use their email subscriber list to get people to attend. I remember attending one about SaaS pricing. This subject is not directly related to KissMetrics' business, but it is relevant for many of their customers. They usually send an email describing what the webinar will be about and detailing the schedule. Sometimes, they do multiple sessions to cover multiple time zones, as they have customers in different countries. They also add this note: 
Will there be a recording?  Nope. "
This is pretty clever. They show their audience that is a one-shot and if you want to get this scarce value-added content, you should register now since there are only a few seats left. At the end of your presentation, KissMetrics adds another slide to show their analytics solution to the audience. This is a simple call to action to help people discover their solution. 

eBooks


eBooks are a great strategy for delivering a lot of value in one-shot to your audience. You can distribute eBooks on the topic you know best. It is a great way to gather customer contact information. In exchange for great value (or the promise of it), people are ready to "pay" by giving their contact information. You should not deceive them though. 
Some use free eBooks to gather contacts and grow their audience. This is the case of Contently, a startup helping companies with content marketing. They offer an eBook about creating content "that stands out". This is directly related to the service they offer and is useful in demonstrating their expertise. 
Companies like Copyblogger, for whom distributing valuable content is a business model, will require you to register for their service in order to get some content for free. If you pay a premium yearly subscription you will have access to a huge amount of premium eBooks providing even more value. 

Online Courses


Sometimes ebooks can be monotonous and not always optimized for the readers' confort. Have you ever tried to read a PDF on a tablet? Another good idea would be to provide the valuable content in the form of an online course. Online courses bring as much value as an ebook and add the engagement with your audience that a webinar can bring.
There are great platforms out there helping you build such content and handling part of the distribution. Udemy and Skillshare are good examples.
This type of content can easily be used to make money, thanks to those platforms. Putting out good content will bring you good reviews and will help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your market.
Gary Vaynerchuck, NYTimes best selling author and internet famous entrepreneur, offers a high quality course on Skillshare, delivering a lot of content coming from his new book. He created this course for people to get some value before the release of the book. 
Onboardly, a company providing startups with PR and content marketing services will sell you their expertise for the price of $99.99. This is real in-depth training, bringing even more value and giving you the opportunity to interact with their team. 

Video Content


If you do not like writing, there are other types of content you can produce and publish on the web. Some people prefer to produce videos. 
It is a richer media than text, but it is really easy to produce low quality content. It is important to define the tone your video feed will take. Will you do interviews? Will you do reviews ? Do you know what image of yourself or your company you want to communicate? Do you have the team to produce high quality videos? These are the questions you will need to answer. When choosing video you will have access to a great distribution platform, which is YouTube. It is particularly efficient for SEO. You can also create a channel to deliver your content regularly and where people can follow you.
There is a debate on how long a video needs to be. Attention span is small but if your audience is captivated you can go for longer content without risking anything. What I find damaging with long videos though, is the lack of structure. It is difficult to index what is inside a video and therefore it is difficult to find and access a specific information.
Once again, Gary Vaynerchuk, knows video content better than anyone. He built the whole content marketing strategy of his father's company, WineLibrary, on a wine reviewing show called WineLibraryTV. Over three years of shows, with more that 500 reviews he managed to make his father's revenue multiply by 10. He found a unique tone to communicate with his audience because he likes to talk to a camera. 

Audio Content


Others, who do not want to take the risk of video production, can deliver audio content. Some companies have been running audio podcasts for a long time. This is a feed of audio content structured in episodes.

Another popular way to produce audio content is using tools like SoundCloud. It is one of the simplest ways to distribute audio content online. While podcasts will require you to record your session, mix tracks, and encode the result in multiple versions for distribution, SoundCloud will only ask you to record, and will provide you with a link to share on your social streams. 

Events


Finally, let's talk about events. Some brands manage to gather communities and events are a good way to expand and strengthen them. 

Events will help you deliver value in multiple ways: 
 - When organizing events around a topic, you will be able to deliver a presentation around a subject your audience cares about. Your team members involved in the event will be able to demonstrate their expertise and make your brand look good. 
- Events will help you talk to your customers, know more about them and learn more about their problems. They are the best way to know what value you can bring them and which problems need to be solved.
- Including guest speakers will help your audience get value from industry experts. Your audience will have the opportunity to meet with these industry experts and will credit you for that. 
- Live coverage of your event will help you broadcast the value you are bringing to the event attendees to your entire online community. You can also make your attendees become some of your most active evangelists, by asking them to participate to that live coverage. 
Every month, analytics software company Mixpanel organizes office hours where they invite their customers and leads to come to their office and ask questions directly to the team members. Networking and good food introduces the event, then a case study follows. In June for example, they invited a product manager from Prezi to show the advantages of being a data-driven company. It was easy as an attendee to talk to team members, as well as to the guest speaker. 
Thanks for reading, let us know what type of content marketing you are doing with your company in comments below.